KARACHI: Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed urged his fellow team-mates to play “without fear” during their forthcoming tour of South Africa — a country where they have won only two Tests during their past five tours.
The Pakistani side is en route to South Africa to play three Tests, five ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals, with the first Test starting in Centurion on Dec 26.
Pakistan head into the series after losing 2-1 to New Zealand in the UAE last week. In the wake of the tough loss, Sarfraz said he still had high hopes of earning a good result against the Proteas.
“Conditions in South Africa are tough with bouncy and seaming pitches so anyone who plays without fear and with a big heart will succeed,” Sarfraz told AFP.
Pakistan’s two wins out of 12 Tests in South Africa came in 1998 and 2007, having lost nine with just one draw.
On their last tour in 2013, Pakistan were routed 3-0 and bowled out for their lowest Test score of 49 in the first Test in Johannesburg, with both senior batsmen Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq in the line-up.
Now without the two stalwarts, Pakistan will look to Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq to help guide the squad.
“We need big innings from both Azhar and Shafiq and they are capable of doing that, so if we put good totals on board we have a good bowling attack to win the match,” said Sarfraz, who also singled out recalled paceman Mohammad Amir as key to any success.
“Amir is back after a good performance at the domestic level so we hope he gets us key wickets in Tests,” said Sarfraz of Amir, who was dropped from the series against Australia and New Zealand due to poor form.
Pakistan open the tour with a three-day game against Cricket South Africa Invitation XI at Benoni from Dec 19.
The second Test is in Cape Town from Jan 3-7 and the third in Johannesburg from Jan 11-15.
Rasikh Salam banned for two years for submitting faulty birth certificate
Mumbai Indians and Jammu and Kashmir pacer Rasikh Salam has been handed a two-year ban by the BCCI after he was found to have submitted a faulty birth certificate to the board.
Subsequently, he has been removed from the under-19 squad that will travel to England to play in a tri-series and has been replaced by Prabhat Maurya.
Salam, a pacer from J&K, made news when he debuted for Mumbai Indians in this Indian Premier League. He was the third player from Jammu & Kashmir to get an IPL contract – after Parvez Rasool and Manzoor Dar – and only the second after Rasool to get into the playing XI. He hails from Ashmuji village in southern part of Kashmir, which is often said to be affected by curfew and power cuts. Mumbai Indians picked him for his base price of INR 20 lakh.
Earlier this week, IANS had reported that Salam could be in trouble for age fraud after the Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education informed JKCA that the age Salam gave the board doesn’t match the records they posses.
JKCA and the BCCI soon got involved in the matter and a two year ban was deemed appropriate.
Dhoni could be ‘exposed’ by Yuvraj’s dad after World Cup
Mumbai: Father of recently retired former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, Yograj has struck again, and all the signs point toward former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
While the cricketer is busy preparing for India’s next clash against Pakistan on Sunday after rain played spoilsport on the much-hyped India-New Zealand clash, a recent video of Yograj has surfaced where he speaks about an ‘un-named’ player who is responsible for the ‘dirty politics’ in the Indian cricket team.
Yograj further goes on to state that this player is the reason that many players like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, and his own son Yuvraj Singh were not included in the Indian team at crucial points in time.
While Yograj didn’t reveal much about the player he talks about, he did mention that he’d make the complete revelations after the currently ongoing 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. Based on earlier allegations by Yograj, who was also a former pace bowler, towards then Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, It seems pretty evident that he is speaking of ‘Captain Cool’.
“I don’t want to take his name but he has been playing these dirty politics from the last 15 years. He has made lives difficult for Indian cricketers. I will make this revelation after the World Cup gets over. He will remember this for life that someone said something about him,” said Yograj.
“I don’t want to speak about him at this point in time because I don’t want the team to get affected during the World Cup,” he added.
FIFA Rankings: India unmoved at 101
London: The Indian national team remain unmoved in the June 2019 edition of the FIFA Rankings released.
Following India’s exit from the 2019 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup, India have had a change in coach with Igor Stimac replacing Stephen Constantine.
Under Stimac, India recently participated in the King’s Cup 2019 in Thailand where a 3-1 defeat against Curacao (79) was backed by a 1-0 win over hosts Thailand (116) in the third-place play-off.
GFX India FIFA Rankings June 2019
The Blue Tigers are set to face Tajikistan (120), DPR Korea (122) and Syria (85) in the upcoming Intercontinental Cup 2019 next. India enter the tournament as defending champions.
Meanwhile, in the global standings, Belgium continue to lead at the top having bettered their advantage over second-placed France who also stay put in their position, the same as Brazil and England at third and fourth spots respectively.
2019 UEFA Nations League champions Portugal have displaced Croatia to stand fifth while Spain (7) has gained two places. Germany (11 – tied with Argentina), Italy and Netherlands (both at 14) have also moved two places up.
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